Thursday, 12 February 2009

Walking to Swallowhead Spring

Swallowhead Spring - the source of the river Kennet

Where the rivers Kennet and Winterbourne meet

Silbury Hill from the top of Waden Hill - the grass looking somewhat sad after the snow.

Walking up Waden Hill - I was not alone, nor ever am on this mystical hill.

Setting off and returning - through the south east quadrant of the Avebury Henge

Yesterday, I was in one of my favourite hilltop places in my north Wiltshire town - the snowdrops had survived the snow and the sun had just come out. In the distance I could see the snow covered downs and I was suddenly filled with a curious happiness which is perhaps better described as the joy of being alive.

So today I headed for those misty, distant hills - on a bus out to Avebury. I was surprised at how much snow still covered the downs. It started out as a cold, clear morning though soon started to cloud over - the above photos track my walk from Avebury, along West Kennet Avenue of Stones and up Waden Hill, where the snow was still untrodden and frozen in places. Stopping at the top to take in the land/skyscape, I then had to choose between walking to West Kennet Long Barrow or to Swallowhead Spring - I chose the spring with all its symbolism of new life.

As I retraced my steps back to Avebury, I climbed Waden Hill and was thrilled to see a large hare appear. It loped downhill in no particular hurry, stopping to just sit and look for a few moments - another sign of the imminent arrival of Spring.
Over the land freckled with snow half thawed
The speculating rooks at their nests cawed
And saw from elm-tops, delicate as flower of grass,
What we below could not see, Winter pass.
Edward Thomas (1878-1917)

(The poetry of Edward Thomas has featured on this blog before - sadly many of the elms have now gone from our landscape.)